Mexico Essay, Research Paper
Mexico is located to the south of the United States.
It is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and
Belize, and Guatemala to the south. Mexican jurisdiction
extends over a number of islands offshore. The total area
of the country is 761,604 square miles.
Mexico is a Federal Republic, governed under a
constitution drafted in 1917. National executive power is
vested in a president, who must be Mexican born, and the
child of a native Mexican. The president is popularly
elected for a six year term, and may never be re-elected.
The president also appoints the cabinet, which is confirmed
Legislative power in Mexico is vested in a bicameral
congress. The upper house is a senate with 64 members,
popularly elected for six years. Two senators are elected
from each state, and from the Federal District. The lower
house is a Chamber of Deputies, made up of 500 members
elected to three year terms. Three hundred are elected from
single member districts, based on population. The other two
hundred are elected according to a system of proportional
representation. Senators and Deputies may not serve two
The Judicial branch of government is headed by the
Supreme Court of Justice. It is made up of 21 full-time
members that are appointed by the countries president, with
the consent of the Senate.
The local government is made up of the Chief executive
of each state. Serving as a governor that is elected by
popular vote for a six year term. The governor of the
Federal District is appointed by the president of Mexico.
Legislative power in the states is vested in the Chamber of
Deputies, whose members are elected to three year terms,
either by election or appointed.
The Mexican population is composed of three main
groups. These groups include the people of Spanish descent,
Indians, and Mestizos (person of mixed blood, Spanish and
American Indian). The Mestizos are the largest of these
three groups making up over 60% of the population. The
Mexican society is semi-industrialized.
The population of Mexico as of 1990, was about
81,140,922. The estimated population density in 1990, was
107 people per square mile. Of this about 73% of the
population lived in urban areas.
The prevailing language of Mexico is Spanish, which is
also the official language of the country. There are also
about thirteen different Indian languages, that are spoken
throughout Mexico. Successive governments have instituted
educational programs to teach Spanish to all of the Indians,
this has helped many.
As of 1990, 27% of Mexicans lived in rural areas. They
live in rural areas so they can continue to preach and live
the life their ancestors lived. Many people don?t want the
influence of city life.
Primary education is free, and mandatory for all
children under the age of fifteen. Parochial schools were
legalized in 1991. Secondary schools emphasize vocational
and technical training. Although adult literacy have been a
major problem in the past. Campaigns by the government have
raised the literacy rate from less than 50% in the early
1990?s, to over 92% of persons aged 15, or more years in the
Each year in the late 1980?s 14.7 million student
attended about 82,100 primary schools in Mexico, and
approximately 4,4 million attended 19,100 secondary schools.
Also, vocational and teacher training schools numbered in at
about 6,500, and they enrolled nearly 2.2 million students
Roman Catholicism is the faith of over 90% of the
Mexican population. Mexico?s long tradition of official
anticlericalism ended in 1991, with the passage of the
constitutional changes. These granted legal status to
religious institutions and allowed parochial schools. The
Protestant religion is a small minority in Mexico, but they
Most of Mexico is a huge elevated plateau, with
hundreds of mountain ranges and amazing coastal plains. The
central plateau is the biggest feature of this country. It
makes up over half of the area in Mexico. Elevation of this
huge plateau, varies from 6000 to 8000 feet above sea level
in the south, and 3500 to 4000 feet above sea level in the
north. Amongst all of this lies two huge valleys or
depressions called, the Bolson de Mapimi in the north, and
the Valley of Mexico, in central Mexico.
The Yucatan Peninsula is a low limestone plateau with
no rivers. The limestone dissolves in water and runs off
onto the coastal plain. Erosion has formed great pits and
were considered sacred by the Maya Indians. They are very
beautiful and attract many tourists.
Forests cover about a fifth of the land in Mexico.
Many different hardwoods such as, ebony, mahogany, and
walnut, are found in these forests and they prove to be very
valuable. Also, Sapodilla trees produce a gumlike substance
that is used in chewing gum.
Mexico also produces a wide variety of flowers and
cactus plants. With over thousands of different types of
flowers, some include geraniums and poinsettias. Also, in
the northern deserts there a hundreds of kinds of cactus
Deer and mountain lions are popular in the mountain
regions of Mexico. While in the northern deserts coyotes,
lizards, and rattlesnakes make their home. Also alligators,
jaguars, and raccoons are found in Mexico.
Hundreds of birds also migrate or live in Mexico.
These range from flamingoes to herons to parrots. Also, the
fish and shellfish are plentiful in the coastal waters,
lakes, and rivers. Tropical fish, such as swordfish and
marlin can be found in the reefs. While bass, catfish, and
trout can be found in lakes.
The climate of Mexico varies greatly from region to
region. The wide range in altitude greatly effects the
weather creating three main temperature zones. The tierra
caliente(hot land)includes regions up to 3000 feet. The
tierra templada(temperate land)which ranges from 3000 to
6000 feet, maintains temperatures between 50 to 80 degrees.
The third temperature region is the tierra fria(cold
land)and it ranges from 6000 and above. Snow caps are
always visible in this region. The temperature will usually
stay between 59 and 63 degrees.
The rainy season in Mexico generally lasts from May to
October. In the tropical regions the rain will come as
short, heavy, afternoon showers. The lack of rainfall in
the desert region, or the north has limited rainfall and
must rely on irrigation systems for the crops. Even during
the rainy season there is never as much rain as there is
needed. On average the temperate region only gets 25 inches
of rain a year. While in some regions they can receive as
much as 118 inches per year.
Mexican industry is probably the most developed amongst
Latin America. Until the late 1980?s most of the new
factories were in northern Mexico. In the late 1980?s the
United States invested heavily in building new factories so
they could produce cars and other things. Other factories
include paper mills, cotton mills, and petroleum refineries.
Other industries include clothing, fertilizer, chemicals,
cement, and leather goods.
About 26% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture
, and most of those work at communal farms. Agricultural
production has always been impaired by the lack of rainfall
received in Mexico. However irrigation systems have helped
out allot, and now Mexico supplies most of it?s basic needs
and exports produce. Livestock in the 1980?s included 31.2
million cattle, 16.5 million hogs, 6 million sheep, and 224
million chickens. Also they produced 41.5 million tons of
sugarcane and 11.8 million tons of corn.
The mineral resources of Mexico are extremely rich and
varied. Almost every known mineral is found in Mexico,
including coal, gold, silver, and copper. Mexico is also
the largest producer of silver in the world. There are
enormous petroleum and natural gas reserves, with some of
the world?s largest deposits, located in the Bay of
Campeche. Also, the forest that makes up 26% of the land,
produces very valuable wood such as ebony, walnut, and
In 1994 7.2 million foreign tourists visited Mexico.
Then in 1995 20 million tourists visited Mexico and over 80%
of those tourists came from the United States. It is so
filed with tourists because it is so beautiful and there is
so much to do. These things to do are grouped into five
main groups:Mayan World, Beaches and Recreational centers,
Prehispanic cultures, Colonial cities, and Natural Riches
Eco Tourism and Adventure. Many airlines offer specials to
people flying to Mexico and many cruiselines stop in
Mexico has a railway system that is nationalized, and
includes 16,340 miles of operated railway track. The
highway system includes 146,290 miles of road, only of which
45% is paved. The Pan-American highway system extends all
the way into the United States, and isn?t even completely
finished. Air services have been worked on extensively, and
now Mexico has over 1700 airports and landing fields.
Mexico exports many goods all across the world, some of
which include petroleum, cars, coffee, and the cocoa bean.
Mexico also imports cars, machines, and electronic
equipment. Some of Mexico?s trade partners include, the
United States, Japan, Spain, and Germany.
Mexico uses the peso as the form of it?s currency. The
peso was officially devalued by the government in December
1987 as 2767 pesos is equivalent to one United States
dollar. The central bank was started in 1925 and is called
the Bank of Mexico. It is modeled after the Federal Reserve
System in the United States.
Mexico?s gross national product increased 6.5% steadily
during 1965-80, but only .5% annually from 1980-88. Weak
oil prices and inflation led to a foreign debt of more than
100 billion dollars. However the economic picture looked
better at the end of the decade with a GDP of over 176
billion dollars(about 1760 dollars per capita). The annual
budget included 107 billion dollars in revenue and 122
billion dollars in expenditure.
In 1325 the Aztec, or Mexico, founded a settlement
named Tenochtitlan in an area surrounded by marshes in
Texcoco. As the settlement grew it?s military got stronger
and increased in size. Under Itzcoatl, the first Aztec
emperor, the Aztec extended their influence through the
entire Valley of Mexico. Thus upon this they became a super
power by the 15th century. Their civilization was highly
developed both intellectually and artistically. As they
grew wealthy and more powerful, they built great cities, and
became better organized in all things. However the Aztec
city eventually fell to the Spanish headed by Herman Cortes
On September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo a
priest in a small town of Dolores, raised the standard of
revolt for the government to banish Indian serfdom.
Although successful at first Hidalgo was captured and shot
at Chihuahua, in 1811. In 1814 another priest tried again
only to be defeated. However he did manage to proclaim a
republic in Mexico, free of Spain. A year after that he and
his army fell to the royalist party. The revolution
continued under Vicente Guerrero who headed a small army.
The Spanish rebellion in 1812 altered the rebellion in
Mexico. To stop all the fighting and rebellion Iturbide met
with Guerrero in 1821 and signed an agreement by which the
two combined forces to bring out independence. The last
viceroy of New Spain was Juan O?Donoju and upon his arrival
in Mexico was forced to sign the Treaty of Cordoba, marking
the beginning of Mexican independence